Handling With Care

In Time For The Holidays, Outright Issues New Resource for Parents and Caregivers of LGBTQ+ Youth

As the holiday season gets underway, Outright Vermont is excited to share Handling With Care, a new and groundbreaking resource for families and caregivers of LGBTQ+ youth. For many LGBTQ+ youth, the holidays may evoke a mixture of emotions, from the joy of reuniting with loved ones to the anxiety of potentially facing awkward or hard conversations with family and friends. It's essential for families to recognize and empathize with these feelings, fostering understanding and acceptance. 

Handling With Care offers useful information and tools. Vocabulary lists on common words or phrases used by the LGBTQ+ community, self-reflection worksheets, and quick references on “do’s and don’ts” are just a few examples of what readers can expect. A core message Handling With Care reinforces is the importance of creating a culture of care through connection, advocacy, and continuous learning. Culture is something we build together, and parents and caregivers have much to contribute to the shifts LGBTQ+ youth need now.

“Families and caregivers can be proactive, doing their own work to effectively show up for queer and trans youth during this holiday season. And while this time of year presents an ideal opportunity to begin, a commitment of care should extend throughout the entire year, every day. We know that acceptance by parents and caregivers can make all the difference,” said Dana Kaplan, Executive Director.

Developed in partnership with Outright program participants, quotes are featured throughout the toolkit to highlight their lived experiences and insights. We intentionally reflect a multitude of experiences, family structures, levels of understanding, and the nuance of intersectional identity.

“If parents can teach their kids to be comfortable with themselves it will help them deal with any kind of rejection they might feel later,” LGBTQ+    youth.

“There was a teacher at the school that was really good with the queer side of my identity but she wasn’t as good with my Black identity... so she [my mother] helped me navigate how to put boundaries up with people... because a lot of the time it’s kind of difficult to know who I can trust,” LGBTQ+ youth.

“Whatever internal struggle you might be going through, seek help outside and [do] not involve your child in that struggle. They’re struggling on their own,” Parent of LGBTQ+ youth

The launch of Handling With Care represents another significant step in Outright’s objective to support families and caregivers of LGBTQ+ youth. Outright recently expanded its staff and services, including the addition of a dedicated Family Engagement Manager, Amelia Schlossberg, underscoring Outright’s recognition of the pivotal role parents and caregivers play in a young person's life journey.

The toolkit was made in partnership with the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and its Healing Together project.

Folks can download a copy at outrightvt.org or pick up a copy at community events.

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